Truth table tasks: Irrelevance and cognitive ability

Thinking and Reasoning 17 (3):213 - 246 (2011)
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Two types of truth table task are used to examine people's mental representation of conditionals. In two within-participants experiments, participants either receive the same task-type twice (Experiment 1) or are presented successively with both a possibilities task and a truth task (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 examines how people interpret the three-option possibilities task and whether they have a clear understanding of it. The present study aims to examine, for both task-types, how participants' cognitive ability relates to the classification of the truth table cases as irrelevant, and their consistency in doing so. Looking at the answer patterns, participants' cognitive ability influences their classification of the truth table cases: A positive correlation exists between cognitive ability and the number of false-antecedent cases classified as ?irrelevant?, both in the possibilities task and the truth task. This favours a suppositional representation of conditionals



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